I can’t find my perfect home, what should I compromise on?
By Jo Eccles
Q: I’m looking for my dream property but am having trouble finding something that ticks all the boxes. What would you advise I compromise on?
A: I work with a lot of buyers who are in your situation and, once in it, it can be hard to get out of.
The key point to remember when buying a property is that nothing is ever perfect and there is always an element of compromise, whether you’re spending £400,000 or £4 million.
Next, remember that you have to be realistic and the only way to do this is by getting to know the market as well as you possibly can in the areas you’re considering.
For example, if you’re holding out for a property which is 100 square feet bigger than all of the other ground floor flats you’ve seen so far, you may be wasting your time if they simply don’t exist in that area. If it doesn’t exist, you need to ask yourself if you are prepared to compromise and accept the typical property sizes in that area, or whatever else is important to you, or if you need to explore other locations where the architecture and so on will give you what you want.
It’s the same for budget and I’ve worked with a number of buyers over the years whose budget was just short of what they needed for a particular area. Rather than accept it and look elsewhere, they had in some cases spent over a year looking. However, once I’d translated the market for them to show them what was genuinely possible and not possible, whilst also educating them on alternative property options and addresses, the way forward was quite clear and we bought for them very quickly.
Other times buyers might be paralysed with a fear of buying as ‘something better’ may be around the corner. Again, this comes down to getting to know the local housing stock to gain comfort that you are buying a genuinely great property. A buying agent will give you all the market insight and comfort you should need. Alternatively, you can befriend a few of the local estate agents but do remember that they ultimately work for the seller, not you.
One helpful step can be to write down your search criteria to remind yourself what is non-negotiable for you and what you may be able to compromise on. We do this for each of our buying clients and seeing your search brief written down can be hugely helpful in the decision making process.
If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @joeccles.